Ghana Library Authority in distress

The Ghana Library Authority (GLA) has made a distress call to the government to increase the subvention given it to enable it to run the various libraries in the country.

The authority expressed its displeasure about the inadequate financial support given them by the government, which they said makes the running of the board very difficult.

The Greater Accra Regional Librarian, Mr Guy E. Armarteifio, who made the call when he spoke to the Daily Graphic, said the authority was given GH¢300 monthly allowance to manage its outfit.

The authority is fraught with electricity problems as they are unable to purchase power continuously for one month due to financial issues.

This was evident during a visit to the Greater Accra Regional Library as readers sat in halls with poor lighting and ventilation system.

The unavailability of electricity in the establishment, according to Mr Armarteifio, impeded progress as most of their departments depended on it. He said both the audio and visual departments were virtually at a standstill as a result of the situation. Tutors cannot use audio-visuals for demonstration to children.

The GLA is the only legally mandated institution required by the government to oversee all libraries in Ghana. Currently, there are a total of 63 public libraries and dozens of community libraries under the watch of the GLA.

Statistics available at the GLA shows that a total of 25,120 readers visited the Accra Regional Library in 2012, with an average monthly attendance of 2,723, while 10,399 people registered in the lending books.

Records available from January to March, this year, also indicate that the juvenile patronage has risen to 10, 025  and that of adults reaching 13,469 an indication that more people are reading.

Despite all these challenges, the GLA has succeeded in rolling out futurist programmes to attract students and readers.  The introduction of the door-to-door outreach has shot-up patronage.

The door-to-door outreach was necessitated by the dwindling patronage by the youth due to the long distances covered by readers.

This does not come without challenges as the GLA is faced with inadequate wherewithal to convey reading materials to the readers.

Mr Armarteifio said, the library needed a total restocking to meet the increasing levels of patronage.

The Accra Regional Library is finding it difficult to come to terms with the high attendance.

The authority is also calling on the government of Ghana and other organisations with similar interest to assist in the running of its affairs.

By Ralph Dinko

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